People who developed ovarian cancer and used talcum powder products in the past received a potential boost in their quest for justice recently. The judge presiding over the talcum powder ovarian cancer cases in New Jersey ruled that expert testimony on the relationship between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer can be presented in the trials pending against Johnson & Johnson. Previously, Johnson & Johnson had filed a motion to disqualify their testimony. Its motion was unsuccessful.
Johnson & Johnson, based in New Jersey, is a major manufacturer of talcum powder products. Its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products both contain talcum powder and were mainstays in many American households for years. However, credible epidemiological studies have linked the asbestos found in talcum powder to ovarian cancer.
If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer and used any product (from any manufacturer) containing talcum powder, call the experienced Virginia product liability lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff today. If you received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and have used any talcum powder product at some point in the past, contact us now to pursue legal action.
Johnson & Johnson Versus Ovarian Cancer Victims
In recent years, many legal cases have been brought against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the asbestos in its talcum powder products caused various forms of cancer, including ovarian cancer. In fact, roughly 16,000 cases are now pending in multi-district litigation (MDL), presided over by a U.S. District Court Judge. The MDL judge issued the recent ruling, which is the first on scientific evidence in the massive MDL.
MDLs are often created when a large number of cases are brought on the same issue, with matters of fact and evidence likely substantively in common. It is done to reduce duplicative effort on the parts of courts, plaintiffs, and defendants. MDLs characteristically go forward into what Product liability lawyers call “bellwether” trials, so named because the rulings and verdicts therein serve as a bellwether for additional, similar cases.
At issue in the trials is whether or not Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder-containing products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower cause cancer. While many experts and studies have found it does, due to the asbestos linked to talcum powder, Johnson & Johnson has consistently argued its products do not cause cancer, going so far as to term the studies “junk science;” thus, its motion that expert testimony on the relationship between talcum powder and ovarian cancer not be allowed.
The judge ruled that five plaintiff experts can testify at the trial. Two of them have previously testified before the U.S. Congress. They can, first, testify that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s products could contain asbestos. They can also testify that its baby powder products cause ovarian cancer, referring to epidemiologically based studies. They can testify that the link between talc and cancer could be caused by asbestos and/or heavy metals.
The judge’s ruling also gave permission for expert testimony to present facts on talcum powder reaching the ovaries if used vaginally. They cannot, however, testify that inhalation causes talcum powder to reach ovaries.
Plaintiffs’ experts may not, however, testify that talcum powder itself causes ovarian cancer.
The judge also ruled that Johnson & Johnson can call three experts from its side to present testimony.
Previous Cases and the Future
The MDL trials are pending. Several ovarian cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, however, have already gone to trial. One, on behalf of 22 women and tried in St. Louis, Missouri, resulted in a nearly $4.7 billion verdict for the plaintiffs in mid-2018. The company is appealing the verdict.
The U.S. Department of Justice has also launched a criminal probe about whether Johnson & Johnson deceived the public about the safety of its talcum powder products, by denying the risks of contracting cancer from them.
Recently, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was discontinuing its talcum powder-based products. Its cornstarch-based Baby Powder, which does not contain talc, will continue production. Observers believe that the discontinuation may stem from the ovarian and other cancer litigation against talc-based products, as the company seeks to cease litigation by stopping the product itself.
What Damages Can Ovarian Cancer Victims and Their Families Seek?
The MDL is part of product liability law. Plaintiffs in product liability law with cases against Johnson & Johnson or any other manufacturer of talcum powder products can seek damage compensation for:
Wages lost from work
Pain and suffering
If your loved one tragically died of ovarian cancer, certain family members are allowed to file a wrongful death suit under Virginia law. The family members are, in order,
Surviving spouse and children or grandchildren of the deceased person
Surviving parents and siblings of the deceased, or any relative who shares the deceased person’s household and is a dependent of the deceased
Surviving family member entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate under Virginia’s laws on intestacy
A surviving spouse and parents may file a claim together if the deceased had no surviving children.
Wrongful death damage compensation includes monetary settlements for:
Medical expenses - Care, hospitalization, medical treatment for the injury that resulted in death
Funeral and burial expenses
Mental anguish - The family member’s loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, society, kindly offices, and advice of the deceased
Compensation - The family member’s loss of income, services, protection, care, and assistance from the deceased
In addition, plaintiffs in both product liability injury and wrongful death cases like this can receive punitive damages. “Punitive” means that the damages are designed to punish the defendant for a pattern of harm or egregious behavior that damaged the public. If a court concludes that Johnson & Johnson did not disclose the potential harm of its long-standing products, for example, punitive damages are possible.
How Much Do Emroch & Kilduff’s Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawyers Cost?
Many people may hesitate to approach a produt liability lawyer because they believe lawyers are expensive. Our lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff, however, work on a contingency fee basis. Our fees, for example, are only deducted as a portion of any successful settlement or award. Our initial consultation is also always free, and there is never any obligation.
Contact an Experienced Talc Ovarian Cancer Attorney In Virginia
If you or a loved one used talcum powder at any point and has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, or if a loved one died from ovarian cancer, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Emroch & Kilduff or dial (804) 358-1568 to speak with us today for a free case evaluation.
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